Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Conservative environmentalism

Andrew Sullivan links to a Slate piece on the conservative - or in this case, neoconservative - embrace of environmentalist policies. The Slate article takes the approach that this is more of a strategic tact, but Sullivan discusses the broader philosophical issue of conservative environmentalism.
I've never understood why conservatives in principle oppose tougher fuel standards or conservation measures. Conserving energy is conservative, no? And increasing energy independence is a useful foreign policy tool, no? Where's the catch?
He's basically right. I'm hardly one to be classed as an environmentalist, but it seems to me that there is an unfortunate tendency in the conservative camp to reflexively oppose all environmentalist legislation. Sometimes they are right - Kyoto being an example - but sometimes it seems that conservatives oppose environmentalist legislation for the sake of opposing it. We should be able to balance between the extremes.

When it comes to fuel standards, I support having some basic standards, though I don't fall quite in line with some of the more fervent hard-liners. Personally speaking I wish people would think twice before purchasing SUV's. It is perfectly understandable for a married couple with children to own them because it is much easier to transport large groups in such a vehicle, but what exactly does a single person living in the city need with an Explorer? Before you get on my case, I absolutely think that it your right to own a SUV if you so desire, but merely suggest that you reconsider. Aside from the environmental concerns, they are simply over-bearing monstrosities that take up too much space, slow down traffic because fewer cars can get through the lights, and more than a few people are driving them who do not seem to know how to handle them.

What's even funnier are people who own Hummers. What, pray tell, do you need with an army vehicle in the middle of the city? Perhaps if we are invaded these individuals will be able to lead the counter-assault, but until then it is a bit of overkill to be driving around a tank. Just my opinion.


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